Living with less plastic

Living with less plastic

Plastic bottles

Several Facebook pop-ups and the chance hearing of an excellent interview podcast with Dr Ruth Valerio, global advocate of Tearfund, have led me to reduce the amount of plastic I use in my everyday life…for Lent at least!

The problem of plastic is a huge one with an estimated 355 metric tonnes being produced every year about half of which is single use. This figure is set to double by 2035. We are all aware that much of this plastic ends up in our oceans where it remains indefinitely. Globally plastic also creates a huge problem in poor slum communities where there is no rubbish collection or waste management process. When waste isn’t collected it is often disposed of in waterways where it builds up, causes blockages and floods, and the proliferation of diseases such as malaria and cholera. Burning the waste in the streets leads to other health and environmental problems.

Closer to home, it is depressing to realise that the majority of the plastic we diligently put into our recycling boxes may not be recycled. It may not be clean enough and so is dumped, and there are simply not enough recycling facilities. We send most of our plastic recycling overseas and so shift the responsibility.

It was heartening therefore to read about the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW). Made up of 30 global companies including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers and waste management companies, the AEPW is committed to help end plastic waste in the environment.

As for my efforts for Lent, it is really hard so far. I think cutting out chocolate might have been less demanding after all! I have gone back to good old-fashioned bars of soap instead of shower gel and handwash but remain on the hunt for a good alternative to liquid shampoo and conditioner. Online research has I have been on-line and sourced toilet tissue rolls that don’t come in plastic bags and I bought washing powder in a box having been a laundry liquid fan for years. Food is easier but not much…no more ready meals in black plastic trays!

Clients have been talking to us more about their challenges with changing packaging. Many relate to product safety and security but the sensory and consumer impacts are also of major concern. What is the impact of different inks and textures on shelf pop and choice? Does grey plastic impart a taint? Will consumers pay more for this knowing it is better for the environment? We can help you answer these questions and more so please get in touch.

We will be running a 1-day workshop on current challenges and developments in food and personal care packaging in the early Autumn. More details will appear on our website shortly. We hope you will join us for this event.

In the meantime, there are still 26 days until Easter Sunday. Why don’t you try a Plastic-Less Lent?